Why the Housefile is Pulling Better Than Ever (1,168 words)
By Gina Valentino
Why the housefile is pulling better than ever.
Solid circulation plans, Internet offers, retail bargains, relevant merchandise offerings and good creative are combining to produce an excellent response from your housefile. Why? Because in difficult times, catalogers get back to basics—doing the right things the right way.
Only Mail to Customers Who Will Buy
A marketer's dream: the 100-percent response rate. Whether it's a business-to-business (B-to-B) or consumer catalog, a catalogers' greatest asset is its housefile. It contains a wealth of information that allows the marketer to pick and choose the best customers to receive the mailing or e-mail. What constitutes a wealth of information?
Purchase dates. When did the most recent purchase occur? For a consumer catalog, the more recent the date, the more likely the customer is to purchase again. For a B-to-B catalog, recency can be used as a suppression, since purchases are based upon need within longer product life cycles.
Orders per year. How many times does your customer purchase in one year, one season or even in one month? Review the data for trends. Whether consumer or B-to-B, group your customers into like segments, and review purchase behavior over a historical period. You may find customers typically buy twice a season or only once a year because of new product introductions or multiple ship-to addresses for gift giving. When you determine how often the customer purchases, you can tailor the timing of your e-mails and catalogs to support purchase frequency, potentially lowering your overall advertising expense.
Products purchased. By analyzing what merchandise customers previously purchased you can predict what a customer is most likely to buy again or next. With B-to-B customers, product line extensions, new and improved items, replacement parts or the ending of the product life cycle are excellent predictors of the next purchase. Nothing is more basic than sending those customers an e-mail or a direct mail piece announcing new and improved additions, communicating the need for replacement parts or products, and reminders of government regulations or industry standards for the lifespan of a product or merchandise category.